Started in a living room in 1972, the Davis Food Co-op has grown into a full-service grocery store owned by over 8,000 local households. We’re open 364 days a year, 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, although we do close a bit early on July 4th, Thanksgiving, December 24th & 31st, and January 1st.
A co-op, or cooperative, is a business that is collectively owned and governed by its members. Because we are locally owned, the Davis Food Co-op is a grocery store that keeps the ethics and needs of its community at its heart, while also aligning with other co-ops across the country and globally to bring the greatest benefits to our members. The Co-op showcases natural, organic and local foods, but strives to offer a full spectrum of groceries to serve our entire community. Everyone is welcome to shop at the Co-op and anyone is able to become a member at any point.
How We Got Started
In 1972 a group of 10 households comprised of passionate Davis residents and UC Davis students started a buying club. The goal of this buying club was to follow in the footsteps of other similar groups around the country that had started to seek out greater access to natural foods without having to support traditional corporations that dominated the grocery industry. With a focus on healthy foods and environmental sustainability, this buying club started with bulk purchases of produce, bulk items (spices, herbs, nuts, etc), and cheese. This food was housed in a living room and then split amongst the original members. As word spread and interest grew, the buying club eventually formalized as a cooperative and moved into a storefront.
Read a more in depth history of the early years of the Co-op here.
Where We Are Now
The Davis Food Co-op now has over 8,000 Owners and operates out of a 17,000 square foot store that carries everything from limes to laundry detergent. Over the past 50 years, the Co-op has had over 40,000 households take part in Ownership of the cooperative. While we have scaled our offerings over time to meet the needs of the community, we have stayed true to the foundation and ideals of the Co-op. Our commitment to our beginnings can be found in our Ends Statement below.
Want to learn more about where we are today? Take a look at our most recent Annual Report.
The Davis Food Co-op exists to serve as a community store and gathering place for current and future owners, so they have:
A thriving cooperatively owned business;
Access to healthful, local and high-quality food;
A store that makes environmental sustainability a priority; and,
Staff who are valued, educated and motivated.
The Davis Food Co-op has made its purpose to revolve around the idea that it is both a store and gathering place for the community of Davis. It is available and exists both for current Owners and those in the community who have yet to invest in the Co-op. As the first goal states, we do this so that the aforementioned community can have a thriving cooperatively owned business.
Buying local produce ensures freshness and a high quality product for Owners and customers that are focused on purchasing healthy foods. Local produce is also more healthy for the planet as a whole since the food traveled less, which means less gas and packaging used during the process of getting on to our shelves.
One of the founding principles of third wave co-ops in the 60s and 70s was environmental sustainability, and we have tried hard to keep to those principles.
The last but definitely not least piece of our Ends Statement is “staff who are valued, educated and motivated”. This is done in various ways throughout the store.
The Davis Food Co-op occupies land that belongs to three federally recognized Patwin tribes: Cachil DeHe Band of Wintun Indians of the Colusa Indian Community, Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation, and Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.
As we constantly work towards our Cooperative Principles Concern for the Community, and Education, Training, and Information, we have donated to local organizations that support this land acknowledgment such as the Center for Land Based Learning, Cache Creek Conservatory and Yolo Basin Foundation and will continue to do so. We know there is much work to be done to provide the space for Indigenous cultural conservation and education in our region.
We invite you to learn more about whose land you are on here: https://native-land.ca/. You can also learn more about the #landback movement and how you can participate in and support land activism and Indigenous communities here: https://landback.org/.